CAN And JNI Blast Prof. Wole Soyinka Over Comments On Religion 

The Christian Association of Nigeria and the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) have blasted Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka for saying religion will kill Nigeria if not tamed.

Soyinka in a book launch in Abuja last Thursday while condemning killings in the name of religion said if not tamed, religion could destroy the country.

“I would like to transfer that cry (by President Muhammadu Buhari on corruption) from the moral zone to the terrain of religion. If we do not tame religion in this nation, religion will kill us,” Soyinka said.

He also condemned  President Muhammadu Buhari and the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, for their approach to the Southern Kaduna killings.

The Secretary-General of the JNI, Dr. Abdulkadir Khalid-Aliyu, However, described Soyinka’s comment as “uncharitable.” He said Nigerian leaders should guard their utterances, especially on religion because of its sensitive nature.

Khalid-Aliyu stated, “Is Prof. Soyinka saying religion is bad? It is important that we really have to be decorous and be respectful of the sensibility of the people. Even in advanced countries, people respect religion and adhere to religion.

“Until we are able to separate the chaff from the grain; there is a difference between religion and people of religion. Such assertion coming from somebody who doesn’t believe in religion is uncharitable.

“If he is talking about moderation and the need to really purge ourselves of extremism in the practice of religion or of being used to advance considerations that are inimical to peace and development, then, that could be understandable.”

The former Secretary-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, said religion was positive, admitting that positive things could be abused.

Similarly, CAN’s National Director, Legal and Public Affairs, Kwamkur Samuel, told the Punch that religion was not the problem of Nigeria.

“With due respect to Prof. Soyinka, it is not true that religion is the bane of Nigeria’s instability. No genuine religion promotes killings and destruction of lives and property. It is unfair for the Nobel laureate to project religion as a problem when it is the faithful believers that are praying and sacrificing to keep the nation moving,” Samuel said,

“Christianity preaches peace in all its ramifications. I challenge the professor to identify one attack on any community in Nigeria that was reported to have been carried out by Christians. Let him show any terrorist group by whatever name that shouts the name of Jesus before attacks or claim they are fighting for Jesus.

“We are sad that the so-called religious killing is persisting because our prominent leaders are not ready to call a spade by its real name.”

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